Leeks
Allium porrum

Leek WoodcutLeeks are an ancient vegetable that seems to have originated in Mesopotamia. It has been found as dried, physical specimens in Egyptian archeological digs as well as documented in drawing and carvings. It is also said to have been a favorite of the Roman Emperor, Nero and it is presumed to have been dispersed throughout the Roman empire, probably explaining how it came to the British Isles.

Related to onions, chives and garlic, rather than forming bulbs or cloves, leek plants produce a long cylinder of tightly bundles leaf sheaths that are ideally blanched white by mounding soil around them as they grow. These tender, white bases, firm and crunchy when raw, are the part of the plant that are used in recipes.

Although leeks are hardy and strong in the garden, they impart a mild, onion-like flavor to dishes. All parts of the plant can be used but the oldest, darkest green colored portions are typically discarded as they are often tough and fibrous.

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Each packet contains one gram, which is approximately 150 to 200 seeds.

Products (Total Items: 3)
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Blue Solaise Leek
Beautiful blue-green color that takes on a deeper blue to violet hue as the temperatures get colder. Mild and delicious.
$2.25
Broad London (Large American Flag) Leek
Stalks are sturdy, long, thick, and broad with pearly-white bulbs.
$1.95
Carentan Leek
Very productive with nice white stems and bases.
$1.95
 


Surface sow seeds on fresh seed starting mix three to four weeks before transplanting into the garden. Time your sowing so that you can get the seedlings planted early (a few weeks before your last spring frost) as leeks require a very long season.

Seedlings are transplanted into trenches and require that you continue to mulch or hill soil up around the plants as they grow. You can begin to harvest as soon as they are ready in the early fall and into the winter. However, you should complete harvesting before hard freezes occur.

To extend their usefulness beyond their traditional harvest times, here are a couple of tricks. While harvesting mature leeks, look for small "buttons" (corms) that develop around the base of each leek. These corms have hard shells and easily separate from the parent leek. If you plant the corms as you harvest the mature leeks, they will produce "baby leeks" for spring use. If you decide not to harvest them at that stages, you can wait and allow them to mature. Additionally, when allowed to mature well past their normal harvest point, leeks can be divided and planted as you would garlic.

Baby Leeks:

Baby vegetables are a popular trend and in demand by many restaurants. If you are a market grower and your customers are requesting "Baby Leeks," this is not a request for a specific leek variety. Like other "baby" vegetables, they are simply produce harvest early in their developmental stage while still quite immature. This also means that you can set your transplants much closer together since you will be harvesting much earlier.

click for recipe for a recipe for the Scottish National Soup, "Cock-A-Leekie" soup.



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